Scripture Reading: Joshua 2
The life that is in the will of God can always be assured of boundless victory and unlimited resources. Joshua had the promises of God and he believed them; he had the Word of God and he studied it; and he was aware of the presence of God and realized it. Do we? The principles of faith, in chapter one, are followed by the practice of faith in chapter two. Faith and action must go together. Here is an amazing passage which deals with Rahab whose chief concern was for the security of her own life, as well as for the lives of those of her immediate family.
Rahab was a pagan, a harlot, and a liar, yet she became the mother of Boaz, and an ancestress of Christ (Matthew 1:5). She is named among the heroes of faith, and also by James (Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25), but for her faith, not for her faults.
The first thing we notice in this woman of questionable character is her home town. Jericho was known in the ancient world as a mighty city, the gateway to the Promised Land. It was situated along the Jordan River and boasted an advanced type of civilization. It is a picture of this modern world along the river of death. As a city it refused the message of God. Its king was defiant against the onward march of truth, and he determined to keep out the people of God. Jericho is like the soul of man with its ramparts of pride, wealth, reasoning, sin, etc., to keep God out. Yet Jericho was doomed, for the Word of the Lord had gone forth; the city was to be wiped out and all the inhabitants put to the edge of the sword. How few today believe in a world of death, uncertainty, and restlessness that it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this— judgment! Just as Jericho experienced God’s wrath because of their unbelief, so God has a fixed date with this modern world when He will judge it in righteousness by the Man He has ordained (Acts 17:31).
Though Rahab knew very little of the living and true God, she believed what she heard about Him, and she acted upon it. She received the two spies sent out by Joshua and was willing to stake her whole future salvation on their word and witness. She felt her faltering faith needed support, so she asked for a sign. She asked for security, or as it has been expressed in the language of another, she wanted “safety, certainty and enjoyment.” Faith needs a resting place and in the life of Rahab we observe saving faith. What is that faith? It is taking God at His word, appropriating it unto myself, personally resting upon the testimony of Him who cannot lie. Notice her confident language. She did not say, “I hope so.” There was no “if” or “perhaps,” but a positive “I know” (2:9).
1. She believed in the purpose of Jehovah — namely, to take the land and possess it for Himself.
2. She believed in God’s power (2:10).
3. She believed in her own peril and wanted the knowledge of safety and security.
The spies gladly gave her a token of security which is described by three different words. First, it is called “a cord” (2:15). This was made of several twisted strands, and by this the spies slid down to safety. It was strong and tested, as is the salvation God offers in our Strong Redeemer. Second, it is called the “scarlet thread” (2:18). Here, the emphasis is on the color, reminding us of the scarlet thread of redemption which runs all through the Bible. Only by means of Christ’s redemption can we be saved, healed, restored, and forgiven. Third, it is spoken of as a “line” (2:18, 21). It is the same word used for “hope,” reminding us of Paul’s words to Titus: “In hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before the world began” (Titus 1:2).
The life of Rahab illustrates the reward of faith. In the day of God’s visitation of judgment on the city of Jericho, Rahab and all that she had were plucked as brands from the burning. Her later history is of deep interest and brings us to the meaning of her name, “enlargement.” She became a citizen of the commonwealth of Israel, the honored wife of a prince, the ancestress of King David, and ultimately she found herself in the very lineage of the Man Christ Jesus. How wonderful the grace of God! Thus God did for Rahab far more than she ever asked or thought, and so with us.